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Huntley tops Crystal Lake South at the YMCA

Huntley swimmers relax before the race.
Huntley swimmers relax before the race.

The six lane indoor pool at The Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake is crowded, muggy, and silent. The stands are so packed with family and friends that visitors are crowding glass windows outside just to get a peek.  Everyone is ready to watch two rivals duke it out at the final meet of this year’s regular swimming season. For the many seniors competing, it is the last dual meet of their high school swimming career.

“Ladies, step up,” says an official dressed in white from head to toe . The girls step up onto the blocks.

“Take your mark,” he continues.  All  of the swimmers are leaning as far as they possibly can over the edge of the starting block without falling over.

The buzzer sounds.

It is the Medley Relay, the opening event of every meet.  The girls start off the blocks with powerful jumps followed by long, graceful glides under the water.  When they pop back up for air to begin performing their specialty stroke, the environment surrounding them is no longer quiet.

Echoes of screams and cheers fill the near claustrophobic space.  Teammates sit at the end of lanes with large signs, screaming as their fellow swimmers approach the wall for a flip turn.

“She’s catching you!” you can hear being shouted in hysterics from the lobby up front.  There is no way to avoid getting pumped up for this race.  The electric atmosphere is infectious.

There is no obvious dominating force.  Huntley wins an individual event, then Crystal Lake, then back and forth again – until it comes down to the final relays of the meet.

One of Crystal Lake’s free relays is disqualified – a miracle for Huntley and a shattering point loss for Crystal Lake.  With the point loss, the final score is 89-82 Huntley.

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